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Comet Tip


 

  July 29, 2002  

 

Remote Printing

 

This tip presents two ideas on remote printing. One idea involves CometAnywhere and the spooler, while the other involves a product named Remote Print Manager.

 

CometAnywhere and the Spooler

 

Consider the scenario where multiple CometAnywhere systems are connected to a Comet host system. Assume that a printer is attached to one of the CometAnywhere systems (we’ll call this system the “main” remote user) and that the other CometAnywhere users want to print to this printer. How can this be accomplished?

 

One solution involves the Comet print spooler. In this case, the printer is configured as an “auto spool” printer. For example:

 

Printer = LP5,W,A,SP5,#,,;

 

When connecting to the Comet system, the main remote user will need to run QSPOOL and start the appropriate spooler running in forever mode. Then, when the other remote users want to print something to the main user’s printer, they simply need to send the output to the spooler (SP5, in this example) and rely on the spooler to send the output to the printer.

 

Since the printer is really a CometAnywhere slave printer, this solution works as long as the main remote user stays connected to Comet and as long as the spooler continues to run in forever mode. If that user disconnects or the unspooling process is terminated, the other CometAnywhere users will not be able to print to the printer in question.

 

Remote Print Manager

 

Another solution to this problem is available without requiring CometAnywhere to remain connected. This solution involves installing Internet printing services software on one of the remote systems and then communicating with that software via the Internet from the Comet host system. An example of this is Remote Print Manager from Brooks Internet Software (www.brooksnet.com).

 

According to Brooks, “Remote Print Manager is a PC-based TCP/IP print server for Windows platforms that enables users to effortlessly receive print jobs from AS/400, mainframe, UNIX, or Windows-based systems.” This means that a Comet host system can send output to a remote printer, even without a CometAnywhere connection.

 

Here’s an overview of how this would work for the host/remote system described above:

 

On the Comet host system, you would:

·        Add an LPD-type printer to the Printers folder. (Note: LPD, an abbreviation for Line Printer Daemon, is a standard NT-type printer.)

·        Configure this printer in the Comet INI file. For example:

 

Printer = LP6,W,N,,printer name,,;

 

At the remote site, you would:

·        Install the Remote Print Manager software on a designate machine.

·        Assign an IP address to the designated printer.

·        Run the Remote Print Manager.

 

At this point, the Remote Print Manager would be listening on the Internet for any incoming print jobs. When users (host or CometAnywhere remote) wanted to print something on the remote printer, they would send their output to the LPD-type printer. The output would be sent via the Internet to the Remote Print Manager, which would direct it to the remote printer.

 

With this set-up, the remote printer is not a CometAnywhere slave printer. This means that the CometAnywhere connection would not need to be active for printing to continue, nor would the Comet print spooler need to be running. Thus, Internet printing offloads the responsibility for managing remote printing.

 

Brooks Internet Software offers several products for Internet printing. Their RPM Elite product works with the following operating systems:

 

Windows NT

Windows 2000

Windows XP

 

RPM Elite installs at kernel level and runs as native service. It supports up to 99 printers. The price is $598, and there’s a 21-day free trial.